Calling them "the foundation of our free-market economy and of our nation''s prosperity," Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao assured this year''s national Small Business award winners that the Department of Labor is "keeping small business in mind every step of the way, in every thing that we do."
Chao spoke to some 70 small business owners from across the nation at ceremonies in Washington marking National Small Business Week.
Chao used the ceremony to announce an initiative that will help small business owners better manage workplace safety concerns. Chao said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will work with the Small Business Administration''s Office of Advocacy to provide helpful information to small businesses about worker safety.
"At the Department of Labor, we know that small business owners wear a lot of hats, one of which is director of your business''s worker safety program, and we want to help you with the job," Chao said. "It''s good for business, and it''s good for workers."
Chao, who came to the United States with her family as a child from Taiwan, also commended the 2002 top award winner, Thanh Lam, an Asian-American who owns and operates a highly successful food business in Hawaii. Lam fled Vietnam in 1979.
"This experience of entrepreneurship is somehow uniquely American, and it is magnificent," Chao said. "In fact, I''d say that being a small business owner is as pure a definition of the American Dream as I could come up with."
by Sandy Smith ([email protected])